In Brief

Today’s back pages: red-faced Liverpool make furlough U-turn

A round-up of the sport headlines from UK newspapers on 7 April

Reds reverse furlough decision

One story dominates the back pages and that is the news that Liverpool have not only reversed their decision to put some non-playing staff on temporary leave but they have also issued a grovelling apology to fans. 

At the weekend, the Reds announced that they were going to apply to the government’s taxpayer-funded job retention scheme, and the reaction was swift and hostile from all quarters. 

Having reflected on the decision, Liverpool released a statement yesterday in which they said they had scrapped the furlough proposal. 

“We believe we came to the wrong conclusion last week and are truly sorry for that,” said the club’s chief executive Peter Moore, who added that Liverpool have “opted to find alternative means” to pay non-playing staff.

“We cocked it up” is the Daily Star’s headline, while The Sun emblazons its back page with: “Red-faced Reds in U-turn”. 

The Daily Mirror says that the Reds were “forced into a humiliating U-turn”, but the paper does have better news for the Liverpool board with a claim that Uefa has told them that come what may they will be crowned Premier League champions this season.

Apparently the 2019/20 season has “been extended indefinitely to allow leagues to be completed across the globe once the coronavirus crisis has begun to ease”. 

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Guardiola’s grief

Another story to feature prominently on the back pages is the sad news that Pep Guardiola’s 82-year-old mother is a victim of coronavirus. 

The Manchester City manager returned to his native Barcelona last month to be near his mother, Dolors Sala Carrio, but yesterday the Sky Blues posted a message in which they said: “Everyone associated with the club sends their most heartfelt sympathy at this most distressing time to Pep, his family and all their friends.” 

The Spaniard has already donated €1m (£920,000) to help fight the deadly virus, and, according to the back page of The Times, he is now ready to accept a wage cut to ensure non-playing staff at Man City are not furloughed.

Guardiola earns about £20m a year as City boss, and he, along with executives including director of football Txiki Begiristain and chief executive Ferran Soriano, are “in favour of taking pay cuts so non-playing staff can be paid in full during the pandemic”.

Walker’s toast

If Guardiola has acted with utmost dignity throughout the coronavirus crisis the same can’t be said for one of his players, Kyle Walker, who last week flouted lockdown rules by hosting a sex party in his flat. 

According to the Daily Mirror, Walker’s England career is now over with Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate allegedly “seething” at the antics of one of his more experienced players.

Admittedly, in recent matches Southgate has preferred the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Walker but the Man City star was expected to feature in some capacity in next year’s European Championship. 

But the Mirror claims that Southgate “will not tolerate any players stepping out of line” and as a result Walker’s international career is finished.

Kyle Walker: sex party could cost Man City star £250,000

Today’s sport headlines

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